Chocolate Rum Cake

Fed up with fruitcake? Then why not try a rich, rummy alternative dessert this holiday season?

Two of my favorite flavors for hard candies have always been chocolate and butter rum. My grandmother kept a supply in a candy dish that was wrapped in colorful cellophane and always had a few in her purse. I remember a moment of revelation when I put both flavors in my mouth at the same time.

cranberry bread

Cranberry Clementine Bread recipe.

Now, 55 years later, I’ve recreated that flavor sensation with a reasonable alternative to the holiday fruitcake: chocolate rum cake with butter rum Chantilly cream. I use a high-quality dark rum for the cake and the cream, but it’s perfectly fine to use flavored extracts to create a non-alcoholic version, which even the kids will enjoy.


Chocolate Rum Cake with Butter Rum Chantilly Cream

Chocolate Cake:

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark rum
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of kosher salt

Chocolate Glaze:

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch-round cake pan with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate, butter and rum together in a double boiler. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Combine the egg yolks and one half cup of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on high speed until thick (about three minutes). Reduce the speed to medium-low and mix in the chocolate mixture until blended.

Add the flour and salt and mix until blended. Wash and dry the whip attachment. Put the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl, fit the mixer with the clean whip and beat on medium speed until frothy.

Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining one-third cup of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate batter. When they are almost completely incorporated, fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.


Photo by Laura Petrilla

Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (about 35 minutes). Let cool to room temperature.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Run a knife around the inside edge of the cake pan to loosen the cake, invert a wire rack on top of the cake and invert the pan and rack together. Lift off the pan. Place the icing rack onto the prepared baking sheet.

To make the chocolate glaze: In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Let the glaze cool until it thickens slightly but is still pourable (about 30 to 60 minutes).

Slowly pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. When the glaze stops dripping, use a large metal spatula to transfer the cake to a platter. Let the glaze continue to set for one hour before serving.

Cut the cake with a hot, dry knife. Serve with Chantilly cream.

Butter Rum Chantilly Cream:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon dark rum
Whip together the sugar, butter and rum until smooth. Add the whipping cream and continue beating until soft peaks form but the cream is still satiny. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready for use, and whisk before serving to restore consistency.